The Families of Adam Keith



Lewis Foster Parker [1824-1892]


Ancestry:  Adam Keith1>Balthasar Keith2>Peter Keith3>Lewis Keith4>Julia A. [Keith] [m. Lewis Foster] Parker5

History of Santa Clara County [CA] -- 1922

Eugene Taylor Sawyer, Historic Record Co., Los Angeles, Ca. 1923.


Major Lewis Foster Parker.


A worthy pioneer settler whose name is linked with the earliest days of California and Santa Clara County is the late Major Lewis Foster Parker, who contributed much toward the development of Almaden Township, for so many years his home. Major Parker was born on March 24, 1824, in Highland county, Ohio, his parents being William and Elizabeth (Davis) Parker, both natives of Pennsylvania. On his paternal side Major Parker was of English descent, while his mother's people were of Welsh origin. His parents removed to Highland county, Ohio, and later to Indianapolis, Ind., where William Parker built the first flouring mill. He afterwards returned to Ohio, where he passed his remaining days. Lewis F. Parker had a brother, J. D. Parker, living at Terre Haute, Ind., who held the office of county clerk of Vigo County, so made his way thither as a young man and attended Terre Haute Academy, after which, for a time, he assisted his brother in the county clerk's office. He then proceeded to Laporte, Ind., where he was employed as a clerk in a store and it was in that city he formed the acquaintance of Miss Julia A. Keith, whom he afterwards married. Mr. Parker then engaged in farming until the discovery of gold in California was heralded in the East and with others he outfitted with horses and pack ponies and came across the plains, being enroute about six months, arriving in California September 1, 1850. Going first to Georgetown, El Dorado County, he next located at Horseshoe Bend, where he engaged in mining, going from there to Spanish Flat. Here his wife joined him, coming via Panama in 1852; he remained there until 1856, then came to Santa Clara County, and settled on a ranch of 320 acres in Almaden township, the place now owned by his daughter , Miss N. Elizabeth Parker. Here he engaged in farming and stock raising, the country being then only sparsely settled and quite in it primitive state, so that his labors paved the way for the succeeding generations. Prominent in the military affairs in the early days, Mr. Parker was a commissioned captain of the New Almaden Cavalry, Company K, California Militia, on January 28, 1865, and served until November 1, 1867, being promoted to the rank of major. He was also active in the public affairs of the county and was a prominent Republican; he also served as deputy county assessor under D. M. Harwood and W. O. Barker. The school district was organized at the Parker home about 1858. The question came up for a name of the district; some suggested Parker, but the Major was too modest to permit it. After other names had been suggested Mrs. Parker said, "Why not call it Union district." as the people in the district were strong pro-union. Thus it was decided and Major Parker was school trustee from its organization until he resigned. Major Parker was married at La Porte, Ind., on December 23, 1847, to Miss Julia Keith, and they became the parents of one daughter, N. Elizabeth, who owns and makes her home on the Parker Ranch, managing 320 acres with splendid ability. She is proud of being a native daughter and is a Republican in her political affiliations, taking a progressive interest in community affairs though her membership in the Neighbors Club. Major Parker passed away on October 20, 1892, the mother surviving him until January 31, 1911, both worthy pioneers whose memory will always be held in grateful remembrance.